Crazy Pallet Boat idea?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by dllcooper, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. dllcooper
    Joined: Nov 2013
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    Location: Ascension Island

    dllcooper Junior Member

    Dear boatdesign users,

    I live on an island in the middle of the South Atlantic ocean called Ascension Island which anyone traveling to and from the Falkland Islands will know.

    Have been looking at boat building possibilities in some detail to build small and larger boats with what we have available.

    Discounting at the moment importing timber or marine ply due to cost.

    We have hundreds and thousands possibly of shipping pallets here which are mainly burnt or trashed and I would like to experiment in some ideas to start putting them together to make boats.

    I know usually this wouldnt be worth the time or hassle of doing so but given our unique position here I think that with some intelligent scarfing, joining and framing it will be possible.

    I wonder if anyone would know a designer who might be able to help put some plans together and also to avoid enormous fibreglass costs, I would rather paint with some kind of bitumen or thick paint to fill any little holes/gaps.

    Any constructive thoughts, ideas or advice on this crazy plan would be much appreciated!
     
  2. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Welcome, dllcooper.

    If you have access to a good saw and waterproof glue you can cut the pallet boards into 4 mm strips of a suitable width and glue them in such a way that the board ends on overlapping pieces do not meet. This way you can make much longer boards that will be strong. I will create an illustration.
     

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  3. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Dllcooper,

    Can you get your hands on good epoxy, or waterproof glue? Normal or thick paint really isn't sutable. Otherwise a design using pallets would certainly be possible, but limited. Since pallets are not made from great wood.
     
  4. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    What are the dimensions of the material you have at hand? I have seen large shipping crates made of nice looking tropical hard woods. There is always a little good in with the bad. Just have to keep your eyes open.

    F
     
  5. hoytedow
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    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Wood Butcher

  6. rustybarge
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: Ireland

    rustybarge Cheetah 25' Powercat.

    I can vouch for the seaworthiness of curraghs, I've been in one many times when i was younger. Because they're a round bilge design without a keel and very very light, the waves can't get hold of the boat; it just glides over the top unaffected.

    They are difficult to row, crabbing along sideways if you misjudge the pressure on the oars. the blades are just pieces of 3" by 3" so that you can row deep into the swell without catching the wave tops. A tiny 10hp ob will put them on the plane.

    Excellent boats in the long Atlantic swells off the West of Ireland.
     
  7. NoEyeDeer
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    Location: Australia

    NoEyeDeer Senior Member

    Ok, so you want to build boats to use on the open Atlantic ocean, and you want to build them out of old pallets? Ok......

    It may be possible, but you are going to need some really good marine glue, like epoxy or resorcinol, and you're going to need a fair amount of it, and you'll have to know how to use it.

    What sizes of timber are available? What quality is it (clear, knotty, etc)? What type of timber is it? What sorts of boats were you thinking of?
     
  8. parkland
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    parkland Senior Member

    I've seen those pallets made from really nice hardwood before.
     
  9. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Yes, many pallets are made of good hardwood (Southern Pine and White Oak), but some are made of trashwood too (like spruce).
    Furthermore, some pallets will have been reused several times and left unattended in outside weather, and some might be brand new. So a very careful selection of suitable pallets should be necessary prior to using them for structural works.
    The fact that pallets you have are currently being burnt or trashed and not reused tells me that we might be talking here about cheap, exhausted or low-quality wood.

    Even if they are new and in good shape, I can see two problems with reusing pallets for boatbuilding purposes:
    1) many pallets are made of mixed hardwoods, and it takes a trained eye to distinguish and separate identical types of woods.
    2) the length of planks is comprised in the range 1000-1200 mm, so one has to lap join several planks (as Hoytedow has noted in the post #2) in order to create the necessary long boards. Hence, good glues are required. Epoxy and resorcinol are the most suitable ones, as NoEyeDeer has noted.

    All in all, a lots of work is in front of you and the outcome is pretty unknown. Good luck! :)
     
  10. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    It is not unknown for wooden hulls to be planked crosswise, not sure where I have seen many of them, though. That might be about the limit of usefulness for lengths of 4 feet (1.2m).
     
  11. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Research the build technique for the Adirondack guideboat.

    Remarkable because the boats were build of stump sticks scarfed together and copper nailed into full length planks by boatman with limited tools and no glue.

    The shape of the guide boat may be to extreme, but the concept is valid for short timber.

    Look for timber pallet wood that does not split at the ends.

    This type of whatever the wood is , seems lightweight and has a nice grain structure.

    These are the critical features..light, straight grain , no cracking ......dimensionally stable.

    Looking at a pallet that just came with a new propellor I would say that the white wood is Okume...not bad.
     
  12. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

  13. michael pierzga
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Thats it..study the original build technique...not the modern. The originals were built of wood scavenged from cedar stumps after the timber harvester came thru. A stump was chest high because trees were cut down with two man hand saws and only produced very short pieces of timber

    Very special boats
     
  14. michael pierzga
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member


  15. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    More googling will locate better details
     
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